World-famous celebrity cat Lil BUB was born in the summer of 2011 in a rural Indiana tool shed. The runt of a litter of feral kittens, BUB's distinctive appearance was caused by several genetic anomalies including a shortened lower jaw, toothlessness, and an extreme case of dwarfism that left her with disproportionately short limbs.
She was adopted by Bloomington-based musician and cat lover Mike Bridavsky, who willingly tended to her special needs and celebrated her uniqueness on a Tumblr photo blog. By the summer of 2012, Lil BUB's charismatic bug-eyed visage had made its way across social media and, following an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, she'd become an online phenomenon with her own line of merchandise and apparel that helped to raise money for animal rescue groups. Over the coming years, BUB traveled across the country with Bridavsky, making media appearances, doing meet-and-greets at animal shelters, meeting other celebrity animals like Grumpy Cat, and befriending human celebrities like Andrew W.K. and Robert De Niro. Her story was the subject of a 2013 documentary called Lil Bub & Friendz, which won the Best Feature Film Award at the Tribeca Online Festival. Her physiology didn't necessarily allow her to meow like more conventional cats, but BUB had her own unusual vocabulary that can be heard on various videos and a few musical collaborations, most notably with her friend Andrew W.K. and in the form of samples on hip-hop duo Run the Jewels' remix album Meow the Jewels. Lil BUB's own musical debut arrived in late 2015 with the release of her album Science & Magic on Joyful Noise Recordings. Produced by Bridavsky in his Bloomington studio, the album takes the form of a shimmering synth pop space voyage, playing on BUB's media back-story as a visitor from another planet. Her catalog of otherworldly sounds can be heard scattered throughout the ten otherwise instrumental songs. In her later years BUB's spirit remained vital even as she was battling an aggressive bone infection. Bridavsky continued to care for BUB until her death at age eight in December 2019. ~ Timothy Monger, Rovi